A Weber County man filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against California-based Big 5 Sporting Goods, claiming the company fired him because he was black.

The plaintiff, Stephen Groves, also claims Big 5 assistant manager, Jeff Wolf, frequently referred to him using terms derogatory toward black people while Groves worked at a Layton Big 5 store."Plaintiff was constantly singled out by Big 5 assistant manager, (Jeff) Wolf, for ridicule and unnecessary tasks not required of the non-minority employees," the suit states.

Wolf no longer works at the Layton store and could not be reached for comment Friday.

Groves also claims after he reported the discrimination to higher authorities in the company he was further targeted and eventually fired. Groves' manager, Scott Gearhart did nothing to "alleviate the situation," the suit states.

When reached for comment Friday afternoon, Gearhart said, "The only time I'm going to say anything is in court."

Groves also claims that Big 5 district supervisor Dave Coleman and regional supervisor Dennis Quon told him to "just ignore" Wolf's discrimination.

No one at Big 5's district offices would comment on the lawsuit Friday.

Wolf was hired Nov. 2, 1998, and worked as a manager trainee. After reporting the discrimination to company officials, Groves claims Big 5 kept precise records of any work infractions "in an attempt to create a plausible reason to discharge him."

Groves alleges Wolf and Big 5 violated his rights as listed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, violated the Utah Anti-Discrimination Act and engaged in "tortious interference with business relations."

Big 5 also blacklisted Groves by "continuing to publish damaging and false employment information about Plaintiff to third-person potential employees," the suit states.

Groves is asking for $1 million in general damages and $1 million in punitive damages for the alleged blacklisting, as well as $1.5 million in punitive damages for Big 5's alleged "tortious interference with business relations."

He's also requesting an injunction ordering Big 5 to stop blacklisting him, as well as punitive damages, court costs and compensation for wages, salary and employment benefits lost because of his alleged discrimination and firing. Groves also requests relief against individuals not named in the lawsuit which might have also "directed, urged participated in, or ratified" his firing.

A 44-year-old company, Big 5, operates 235 stores in nine Midwest states including Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.